Amazon – Ruining It for Everyone Else
If you are human and live on Earth, you may shop with Amazon.com. If you don’t, I just have one question for you…
What the %^&U$%^ is the matter with you?
In all seriousness, I spend a lot of money with Amazon, and have their Prime membership in which two-day shipping on most items is free, and I enjoy all kinds of other perks like free apps and the ability to borrow one e-book per month. Amazon also offers a Subscribe-N-Save Program, whereby items that I consume regularly (like diapers) arrive monthly and I enjoy even bigger discounts because I commit to them. I LOVE Amazon. Anything I can buy on Amazon, I do.
Amazon has ruined the game for all, or at least most, other players out there. Whenever I order something from another retailer, I am almost always disappointed that the stuff I want doesn’t arrive on my doorstep in a nice sturdy box two days later. And now I am on pins and needles regarding several presents I ordered, hoping against hope that they arrive on time.
And it got me thinking, how can YOU be the Amazon to your customers? Here are a few thoughts.
- Be consistent—Stick to promised turnarounds every single time. Bend over backwards if you have to. If you want to have the kind of reputation and loyal following that Amazon has, you have to work for it. I heard recently that they have a truck leaving their fulfillment centers every two minutes. That’s a LOT of loyal customers, and a LOT of dollars!
- Make it EASY—From ordering to getting a quote to dealing with problems, give your clients what they want when they want it without a lot of barriers. Don’t put off giving bad news. Don’t keep people on hold. Don’t make them wait too long for a quote.
- Give options—whether it is paper stock, different finishing options, or due dates, make sure your clients have some choice. And talk to them. Find out what they wish you offered and if you can, get it for them.
- Err on the side of TOO much communication—Rarely will you be accused of over-communication. People want to know what is going on, so let them in on what is happening. If they don’t want to know, they’ll tell you.
- Add value and reward loyalty. If there are ways for you to offer perks to frequent customers such as free freight or discounts, consider it. If there is content you can offer as part of being a trusted partner, do it. Whether that means free quarterly seminars or access to “members only” newsletters or blogs, so be it. People like to be in “the club,” so make one up.
Jeff Bezos is worth 19 billion dollars and he started Amazon in his garage. Take some lessons from him and get your clients addicted to doing business with you. Get Amazonian! Gotta go—the UPS guy just showed up with—you guessed it—two more boxes from Amazon!
Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.